Thursday, 7th May, Ingram to Clennell, 11.74 miles.
I’ve managed to half the weight and bulk of our packs and Jane has kindly agreed to take the parcel to the PO for me on her way to catch her train to London. I am surprised to learn it only takes 3 1/2 hours to get there, just over half the time it would take me to get to London from Cornwall.
As Tommy and I head out onto the hills, I am not getting any location setting on my phone and get my compass out for the first time. Lots more gates to open and fords to cross. I get off to do the gates rather than struggling with them on board as most of them have to be lifted to move them which means I have to hunt around for suitable mounting ‘blocks’ or walk a way until I find one, like this stile which is ideal.
Coming off Wether Hill and Cochrane Pike, passing several ancient settlements, we take a coffee / grass break in the village of Prendwick where a hare comes ‘haring’ down the road beside us. When I am walking him, he steps on the loose rein I have thrown over his neck to lead him by. I’m rather regretting having sent the plastic electrical tape off in the package this morning. The trusty old binder twine gets put to good use tho’ as that will have to do for the moment.
More gates and fords and rough tracks, so there’s a lot of getting on and off. Lambs everywhere and farmers going about their business on quad bikes often with a friendly wave, their trusted collies working hard to tend the flock. The air is filled with the sound of constant bleating. I’m beginning to see these poor little mole corpses like washing hung out to dry attached by their snouts to the fencing. What’s all that about?
Arriving at Clennell Hall, I manage to find John who owns the land around it. He had been looking out for us. He shows us which field to put Tommy in and I go in search of my room in the rambling country house. No one seems to be about then Rocky appears from some back passage and we head into the bar for a glass of wine. I’m just beginning to feel settled when John pops his head around the door to say that Tommy has escaped!
Flabbergasted, because when I left him, he was as chilled as could be. What appears to have happened is one of those large double articulated logging wagons had rattled over a cattle grid at speed and he was so startled, he had decided to do a runner. Choosing the corner to escape, he had clean jumped the wall with a slope running up to it, and galloped off down the lane from whence we had come just a couple of hours beforehand. John had actually seen him jump the stone wall and it has to be said he was mightily impressed. I inspected the wall the following morning and found his hoof prints from where he must have taken off and pressing myself against the wall, it was pretty much the same height as me, which is 5’3″.
I perch myself next to John on his quod bike and off we speed to go and find my loose horse. His flight had been stopped by the gate at the end of the track and I lead him back to Clennell. We decide to put him in the stable overnight with a net full of haylage, a few nuts and some sugar beat because the logging wagons will keep on coming until late into the evening. But the whole episode had unsettled him and he paced around for quite some time though he had settled by the time I checked on him after enjoying some fresh cod from Eyemouth in Scotland. It seems we have been not far from the border since we started, only 8 miles away from here. I am hearing Scottish words like ‘bairn’ peppering the Northumbrian language.